Episode 260: Heaven Shall Burn, Barishi, Inanimate Existence 2016 Album Reviews + Amaranthe Preview

Straying From the Path

One of the albums this week is titled Wanderer, but (spoiler alert) that one does not go in an unexpected direction.  The other music covered this week, however, does.  Is that a bad thing?  Is it a welcome change?  There’s one way to find out…

Also, this episode officially marks FIVE YEARS of this here podcast.  We’d like to thank all of our listeners, whether you listen regularly or just when you see an album that intrigues you. We really appreciate you all!


Heaven Shall Burn Wanderer (Century Media)
Barishi Blood from the Lion’s Mouth (Season of Mist)
Inanimate Existence Calling from a Dream (Unique Leader)

First Impression:
Amaranthe – “That Song” taken from Maximalism out October 21th from Spinefarm

Heaven Shall Burn – Wanderer

Barishi – Blood From The Lion’s Mouth

Inanimate Existence – Calling From A Dream


  1. Wrong and wrong. Too many metal albums suffer from a lack of contrast (especially death metal). The Spanish guitar on the song “Gray Matter Mechanics” adds a whole nother layer to not only the song itself, but it gives the album a break from the pummeling death metal that precedes and follows. And as for the album being too long, I might argue that it’s only too long if you have to squeeze in listening to two other albums in a week to review them on a podcast. Maybe you should have reserved the entire week just for this album and dedicate the entire podcast to this one album so you could give it the listening time it deserves.

  2. Here’s something that doesn’t happen often (if ever): I’m going to give you my album review before you review it. Proponent for Sentience by Allegaeon fulfills the promise of “technical melodic death metal” (that’s their exact genre description in Metal Archives). I know that bands such as Pronostic and Black Crown Initiate (with the album Wreckage of Stars) come close, but Proponent for Sentience is everything I’d want a technical melodic death metal album to be. That promise is best shown in the song “Proponent for Sentience III – The Extermination.” That song has everything. It starts out with a space-y delayed guitar noodle with Stephen Hawking speaking over it, then explodes into a distorted wall of sound with sweep picking guitar licks. After a short growled verse, in steps Björn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork to take things to the next level. The lyrics Speed sings might as well be “this is the chorus you’ve been looking for from a tech death song.” The song then proceeds into not one, not two, but three guitar solos in the middle of it, the last of which is a guest spot from Ben Ellis from Scar Symmetry formerly of Bloodshot Dawn. It doesn’t get much better than all that. But that’s just one song! There’s 64 more minutes of great music besides that. Every song on the album has something slightly different to offer, from the easy to chant along with chorus of “All Hail Science”, to the more moody “Proponent for Sentience II – The Algorithm”, to the Spanish acoustic guitar featured heavily on “Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassionata Ex Machinea.” Each song scratches a slightly different tech death itch which makes the 72 minute album length seem to fly by while listening to it without ever wearing out its welcome or getting stale. And finally, the cover of “Subdivisions” by Rush works great to not only pay homage to their influences, but also to show off new vocalist Riley McShane’s range. Album of the year.

  3. Actually, with NIN it was a bit different for me. I take your point – and you’re not wrong. In that particular case though, Pretty Hate Machine came out when I was 5. He was well established and both writing and touring with a band before I ever heard the name Trent Reznor.

    I know it is a silly gripe to have, but I have always listened to music with “how would this translate live?” in the back of my mind. If it is too layered or impossible to pull off without tons of backing tracks or bringing extra members to do large chunks of your album – it’s a turn off. I had the same problem with the most recent Deven Townsend (among some other issues), and have repeatedly complained about both Dark Tranquility and Lacuna Coil touring without bass players but releasing extremely bass-centric albums.

    I know, it’s a dumb thing to focus on, but to answer your question – yes, it does definitely hurt my opinion of a band or album. That said, i’m not so close minded as to not be able to be swayed back the other way. Case in point: the mixing and production of Wild Throne has guitar coming at you from all angles and was layered like crazy. I bitched about that since they are a three piece. However, they pull it off so well live, with no extra members or backing tracks, that it has totally alleviated my problems with Harvest of Darkness.

    1. I can see the point to that. I will however say not to hold it against Allegaeon if on their new album Proponent for Sentience they use a few symphonic flourishes and a prominent guest vocalist who certainly won’t be going out on tour to sing with them.

  4. 5 years – I hadn’t even realized! In my mind, I can figure out that 52 episodes would be a year, and 104 episodes would be two years. But after that the math gets hazy. I may have only told Brian this, but I have in fact been listening since the beginning. Five years ago I got a notification from Twitter that said “The Sideshow Podcast is now following you.” I don’t follow many things on Twitter, so when I get a notification that doesn’t look like spam I usually check it out. Seeing that it was a metal podcast and noting that I happen to like metal, I checked it out. And the rest is (5 years of) history.

    This week has been tech death week for me. One of the albums I’ve listened to is Calling From a Dream by Inanimate Existence. There were certainly some strong words from you guys about it. I have to disagree with you guys overall on it, even if I don’t think it is a great album. It seems clear to me that on this album, Inanimate Existence are trying to fill a niche that hasn’t been scratched before: tech death with female vocals. Realizing that the female vocals probably won’t work well with the brutal Cryptopsy style of tech death, they went with the mellower Fallujah approach. Calling From a Dream is Fallujah with female vocals. I actually do think the female vocals fit in well. To me, they mesh with the rest of the music and bring a side of tech death heretofore unseen. I will admit that the vocal timbre of the female singer isn’t the most immediate or pleasing, but it is distinct and does work in the context of the album. The vocals remind me a bit of Thana Harris from Sleep Dirt by Frank Zappa. As an overall album, I don’t love every song on the album. The song you played, “Falling Into Malice”, isn’t one of the better ones on the album. My favorites are the first and last songs, which are the title track and “Burial at Sea” and also “Pulse of the Mountain’s Heart”. Finally, I don’t really care how they plan on pulling it off live. I want a band to make the best album they can in the studio. Make an album that displays your vision as an artist. Then worry about playing it live, if you even ever decide to play it live. Devin Townsend goes on tour with a backing track for the symphonic parts and female vocals and it works great live. Other bands can make it work as well.

    Next week: I don’t want to hear that the new Allegaeon album is too long. Yes, I realize it’s 72 minutes. But here’s why it’s not too long: there’s always a chance that any album from a struggling artist will be their last. Allegaeon certainly isn’t one of the most popular bands on the scene. The band members all have day jobs to make ends meet. There’s been a lot of turnover in the band, including a new vocalist on this album. I try not to be pessimistic, but it’s a possibility that the band throws in the towel if this album doesn’t do well or they don’t build more momentum from upcoming tours. Because they are my favorite band, I welcome any and all music they want to release, even if it is 72 minutes including a Rush cover (I happen to like Rush and think that 2112 is a masterpiece). The more the better from Allegaeon because it could be their last. BTW, Proponent for Sentience is awesome. Album of the year! (so far).

    1. So….what you’re saying is that we should actually keep using Twitter? I didn’t know that’s how you found us. Thanks for checking it out and sticking with us for so long!

      While I don’t entirely disagree with your take on “Fallujah with female vocals” my biggest issue with that is – the female vocals that they structured their entire album around are a guest appearance from a non-member of the band. As a guy who has long established that he is a stickler for things being reproducible live, they either need to bring another mouth to feed on the road OR play half the album (keyboards as well) as a backing track. That is a hurdle that I can’t get past.

      I promise I’ll be doing my best to look past the album length!


      1. Regarding using Twitter, keep in mind that it was 5 years ago. Twitter seems to have been much more popular 5 years ago. The twitter fad seems to be fading. The people who seem to be using twitter the most these days are all politicians.

        As for Inanimate Existence, it just seems odd to me that if a band might not be able to reproduce their sound live that it would be a “hurdle that (you) can’t get past” while listening to the album. Let’s assume the best case scenario for a minute: that the band is able to bring the female vocalist on tour and play the keyboard parts live and pull it all off to make it sound great live. Would that actually improve your enjoyment of listening to the recording that you listen to in your car or through headphones? Would the album then go from a 2 to a 3? You’re a Nine Inch Nails fan. Trent Reznor recorded many NIN albums by himself, using a synthesizer for a lot of it. The first time you heard NIN, did you worry about how this one guy with a synthesizer is going to pull it off live? Is he just going to stand on stage and press a button on a computer or synth and then sing? I suspect you didn’t care about that because the music itself was so emotional and gripping that how it would be performed live didn’t even enter the mind. Or was it actually the case that once it was discovered that NIN tours with a full band and sounds good live that the enjoyment of the recordings was improved?

      2. I will tell you right now that the Allegaeon album is too long. And I cannot wait to argue with you next week over our reviews. Spoiler – I agree with part of yours, but we differ in a number of places, with an example being the spanish acoustic bullshit that stops the album flow dead and adds nothing to the song. – Brian

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